Olympic Triathlon: Bermuda win first ever gold, Hayes gets top 25

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At 06:45 in the morning in Tokyo, after a 15 minute delay, the women’s triathlon commenced in typhoon weather

Caroline Hayes from Newcastlewest, Limerick was Ireland’s sole representative in the women’s triathlon this year. She wore no. 40 alongside 53 other athletes.

The race was forced to begin a quarter of an hour late due to an ongoing typhoon in Japan that hampered with other events as well. This weather led there to be very tough conditions of rain, wind but also 24 degree heat.

This race would consist of a 1500m swim split into two laps, a 40km cycle split into eight laps and a 10km run finishing in four laps.

Women’s Triathlon – Odaiba Marine Park – 27th July

The swim started and Team GB’s Jessica Learmonth took a early lead which she held onto throughout the water segment.

Ireland’s Caroline Hayes began slowly dropping into 43rd place but catching up two places by the end of the swim.

As they transitioned into cycling, the race split up into three packs and with the conditions, it would be very hard to catch up in between each pack.

After 20km of the cycling, Hayes had improved greatly, jumping up to 33rd place. The wet roads proved to be dangerous with a few falls and flat tires.

A top pack of cyclist was now led by the United States athlete Katie Zaferes. The 32-year-old was a whole 4:51 ahead of Hayes at the end of the cycling.

Moving into the final 10km run and Bermuda’s Flora Duffy found a new burst of energy. The small island country of less than 65,000 residents had never won a gold Olympic medal before, only one bronze in boxing in all their history.

The 33-year-old Duffy never slowed as she was pushed by her entire nation back home. She made it to the end in a total time of 1:55.36, well ahead of any other competitor.

In second place was Great Britain’s Georgia Taylor Brown and in a close third was USA’s Zaferes.

Hayes did Ireland proud by pushing up to 23rd in the final rankings, finishing six minutes 30 seconds behind Duffy. She showed a valiant display overtaking 20 competitors and not falling in a race that seven women failed to finish.

In the end, this will be a day that will live long in the memory of Bermuda and their hero Flora Duffy.

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